The Checkers put themselves back in playoff position with a convincing 4-1 victory over one of their chief rivals for a postseason berth, the Cleveland Monsters, on Thursday.
Connor Brickley, Andrew Miller, Philip Samuelsson and Danny Kristo all scored for the Checkers, who took three out of a possible four points in their two-game trip to Ohio. Charlotte, which has nine games remaining, is now tied with Cleveland with 73 points but holds a higher winning percentage by way of one fewer game played.
Miller also added an assist, while newcomer Aleksi Saarela had two helpers of his own against Cleveland, which saw its win streak halted at six games.
Tom McCollum made 30 saves, including a pair of breakaway stops with the game still scoreless in the first period, to improve to 8-1-1 on the season.
Miller now 20 points (6g, 14a) in his last 17 games … Brickley has seven goals in his last 10 games … Brickley’s goal was the Checkers’ second shorthanded tally in as many games and ninth of the season. They have allowed just two … Patrick Brown had his second shorthanded assist in as many games and is now tied with Lucas Wallmark for the team lead in shorthanded points (3) … Saarela has three points (1g, 2a) in his first two games as a Checker since coming over from Finland … Of the eight-game season series between Charlotte and Cleveland, this was the only game won by the visiting team … The Checkers’ season-long point streak on the road now stands at six games (4-0-2) … Forwards Kyle Hagel and Erik Karlsson and goaltender Michael Leighton missed the game due to injury … Forwards Bryan Bickell, Clark Bishop, Hudson Elynuik and Kris Newbury and defenseman Tyler Ganly were healthy extras.
The Checkers’ four-game road trip continues with a game against the Central Division’s top team and potential first-round playoff opponent, Grand Rapids, on Friday night. Charlotte will then head to Chicago for a game on Sunday.